If you live in a tight space, changing the direction of an interior door can open up a whole new area. Popping a door from swinging inside to outside can give you up to 13 extra square feet of space. If you are open to switching a door around, you are in for a relatively easy project with potentially big rewards.
You can free up wall space and feature art that ties the room together with the rug if you switch the door from left to right or vice versa to open that space.
To do it yourself, you'll first want to take the existing door off its hinges and remove all the hardware from the door jamb. Remove the door top molding only if you are replacing the entire door and not just moving it to change the direction of the swing.
Once the hardware is off, including hinges and the strike plate, take a chisel to make new recesses for the placement of the new fittings. A router can work well for hard areas. Fill in any holes with wood putty and attach the hardware. Once the hardware is flush, prime and paint the door jamb and rehang the door.
When you want the door to change direction in its swing from one room to another, you'll have a little more work to do. If you don't want to buy a prehung door, which can run around $300, treat all of the materials you are disassembling from the frame with care so you won't have to replace them. The entire door jamb will need to be removed and turned around. First, take out the hinge pins and the door,but leave all the hardware in place. Take off the casing as carefully as possible. This can be difficult, so be prepared to purchase new casing if you break it, which isn't terribly expensive. Take off the door jamb with a reciprocating saw and metal-cutting blade. You need to get through the nails that hold the door jamb. Turn the door around and reinstall it with the hinge pins. Match the strike plate and door knob for a close fit.
If the door is beveled, it will have a tighter fit, particularly in humid weather as the bevel allows it to swell. If you machine a bevel on the lockset side of your door, the leading and trailing edges will be the same distance from the corner edge of the door jamb. Give a 1/8 inch clearance between the door jamb and door edge when it is in its closed position.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.